Attorney Christine Kingston Talks With Katherine On “This Needs To Be Said” About Life After Bankruptcy – Part Three

Categories: Bankruptcy, Interview


Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us back on “This needs to be said’, our friend, attorney, Christine Kingston, who will be Christine from this point on has joined us again. We have to finish this conversation, but it may not even happen in this go round, but we end it with creditors with credit card and high credit scores and life after bankruptcy. And, and the thing for me Christine is years ago, I want to say it was like 2000. Had to be like 2004 for me, so by the time you filed, I was getting mine discharged from my federal court. But what, I didn’t know, I didn’t know the stuff that you all have talked about, like how to rebuild your credit, because I was left in that space of not knowing that there is a way to have life after bankruptcy. I was really literally waiting until the discharge fell off. So I’m one of those people.

Yeah, I think, a lot of bankruptcy attorneys dropped the ball there. I couldn’t agree more with you when, when, when you’re done with your bankruptcy case, what’s next, right? Wouldn’t it have been great, If your bankruptcy attorney, might’ve handed you a little bit of guidance and that’s one of the things that I do, which is going above and beyond what my colleagues do is I make sure that they have credit repair update letters for free so they can send those off to the bureaus. And I’m always willing to work with past clients. Why because half of my business comes from referrals, Katherine, you know, and it’s because of the stigma in and around bankruptcy but I believe firmly that when you do right by your existing clients, that will lead to more business. And what I do is I make sure that my clients are well-informed so that they know after bankruptcy, what can they do?

You’re going to get credit. You will get offers in the mail and, and what do you do with all of that, right I want to train new behaviors, right Credit is not good. No one ever got rich off of debt, except for the banks. You know, and people need to understand that credit is a tool when used wisely. It can work for you getting you a great deal on a mortgage interest rate, getting a great deal on a car loan. But with the credit cards, we don’t need tens credit cards in our wallet. We don’t even need more than two. You know, as a matter of fact, you don’t need more than one to make a great credit portfolio. Right! but I think one of the things that we were talking about last time too, and I wanted to kind of touch on it some more as the uncertainty of what’s happening right now with the COVID and the fact that we’re trying to get people backstage and get everybody back in open, there is still so much uncertainty out there.

And I think that the consumer should not be afraid of bankruptcy. Think of it as another piece in the social, like a safety net, right? What is available If you’re not able to get out of debt in the next five years, you need another plan because you know what they say, they meaning, you know, historical, it’s been said before, time is money. If time is money, how much money do you have and how much time can you buy with the money that you have you know, if it’s going to take you more than five years to get out of debt, that’s five years that you can’t save towards your future because you’re still taking yourself out of a hole. The bankruptcy is a very powerful tool because I can get most people out of debt immediately if they’re eligible for a chapter seven, right and if we run the numbers you take a $500 a month. And I think I did this and I pinned this on one of my blog articles, where if you paid $500 a month into a savings account and you file chapter seven on your debt, you would have more money saved than the other guy who would be still bailing himself out of debt over nine years with the interest instead of paying the money towards savings.

Yes. And it takes a mindset shift. It does because if you’ve been accustomed to pain over time, you know, and I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing, but I’m listening to you as I, I mean, I, I hear you all. And I’m like, where were you When, when I saw bankruptcy, that’s what I was thinking most of the time. But I’m thinking like, you know, well, yeah, I hear you that, you know, it will be quicker to do bankruptcy and, and I can put this money to the side, but, you know, but I, I get more time and, and this is a mindset shift. Maybe I feel like I have to be punished at five years. Maybe, you know, cause again, bankruptcy came as, at the big, bad word when we began talking and, and we may have people who haven’t heard us talk before and, and thinking, man, it’s talking about bankruptcy and it, it, it, and that’s scary to me and it, and it doesn’t need to be scary. It doesn’t need to be shameful.

Yep. And all of that costs money. You know, if people were to think about the compound effect of all of their decisions, right The compound effect of all of our financial choices have gotten us to where we’re at today, barring COVID and other people’s, you know, causing problems, you know, things like that but for the most part, we create our own situations with regards to our finances. And it’s so emotionally driven. And I think that, you know, one of the things that we have to touch on is psychology because money is an emotional thing. It’s an emotional decision. People attach it to a piece of paper or a plastic debit or credit card, but there’s an emotional attachment to all of that. We tie our identities up in our credit scores. We tie our identities up with a balance. In our bank accounts, we tie it up in our assets.

How well can we manage our debt and then, and then we put so much pressure on ourselves like you’ve just hit on it. Well, maybe I need to be punished. Maybe I’m supposed to be punishing myself. Well, now we’re talking about shame and guilt and some very core, deep, negative, dark emotions in and around our money. I that if we were to really shift the mindset and there were a mass Exodus of people in this country alone, choose to not go into credit card debt, ever smart choice. Number one, number two, what’s going to happen to the banks? Now they’re going to start losing money. Why because you’re not paying them the interest. You’re not paying them these fees and costs. And that’s what banks do. Banks are in the business of charging money so that they can manage your money. It’s just part of the scam. You know, this whole thing, if you weren’t in debt, would you be doing the job that you’re doing right now If the answer is no, then you need to get out of debt and move on with your life and find happiness, right It does. It’s harder, easier said than done. I get it. Absolutely! Absolutely.

There’s this big ship of our life has been going in this direction and we’ve gained momentum and to change because when I get done listening to this show with Katherine and Christine, I’m going to go and not talk to anyone because this is bad. You know, I’m, admitting I failed. I I’m admitting that I couldn’t cut it. I’m admitting that I can’t make it on my own. And I already was trying to do it without help. And now you’re telling me I need help, which is what the other people were telling me. I need help. You know So it, it is that you have to come out of that and say, okay, well, think of a time that I was really, really, really in a, in a situation of fix a pinch, whatever you call a bad spot for you. And you felt like I’m being desperate.

Desperation makes you move and you don’t want that to be how you move with bankruptcy. But that’s how I ended up in bankruptcy. It was like, you know, this was it. I didn’t know other options. I didn’t know about having to, you know, to try to call more than one attorney. I was scared that I was going to be charged. You know, people I knew were talking about this. People were not encouraging me. Just call an attorney and do a free consultation. No one, no one was telling me that, you know why Because I wasn’t telling them what I was going.

We can’t get the answers. Right!

Right, Exactly! Exactly. Yeah.

And you had a choice, you would have done it sooner, right most people say absolutely.

Absolutely! I would have. And, and, and if I would have had the piece about life after bankruptcy, because it really felt like a death. I went through the process. I go to court. I mean, everything is, you know, routine, I guess it, it, it, nobody seemed to be broke up, but me and my slate is wiped clean, but get in the car or, you know, getting an apartment or maybe a job. What can I may not be able to get a job. I better not lose the job I have, because if I have to have my credit score pooled for the next job, you know, and I’ve had my credit score pool for some jobs. And I don’t know if that was the reason, but probably was the reason I didn’t get it. You know so you don’t know how to protect yourself and you don’t know how to recover.

That’s the word I was looking for. You don’t know how to recover. And so for whoever’s listening to us talk today and you’re thinking everything I said, or some of what I said, you know, shame, guilt, admission, maybe somebody is going to say, I told you, so let them, let them say that, feel what you’re feeling, but push through it. And I don’t mean like override it, but let it ride with you. Those feelings of guilt shame they can, they can ride with you. You are, it’s okay for you to feel that because that came from something else in you. Like, however you you’ve, you’ve lived your life, your, your upbringing,

You were raised what your parents taught you about money. What did you learn about money? You can break those ties. You can break those chains anytime you like. And I think what’s really important for people to understand is that they have the power to choose differently. And, and to the point that people feel stuck, there’s also a price to pay for that. And there’s a benefit, right some people stay in the victim mode, Katherine, and they don’t want to get out of that because somehow that gives them some sense of comfort. And I think it’s really, the challenge is to become uncomfortable and be willing to do whatever it takes, including the possibility of filing a bankruptcy if that is what is needed to get where you want to go. I mean, for example, I’ve mean bankruptcy filings are down. I’m having phone calls with my landlord. I’ve cut vendors. What’s the first thing we do when we’re not making money, we cut the budget.

We stopped, right. If

People were to do that they could preserve their cash for a little bit longer. And then they start having to ask questions. You’ve got to get out there and start talking about it. Because then I found out about the paycheck protection program to keep my team on board. I was able to get a disaster loan, which I’m not a big fan of debt, but you know, again, that’s carried my firm and we’re still making cuts. Are there things that I can live without? Absolutely, I am cutting them and, that’s what we need to do so that I can still be available to the consumers and the consumers have access to justice. When they call my firm, we’re still open and we’re still working. It’s hard. It’s hard on all of us, but that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to do a job and serve the community. You know, even when the money’s not rolling in

Well, it’s like harvesting. You have to plant seeds and it’s going to come up. If you don’t do anything while it’s slow, you won’t have anything when harvest comes. So you’re doing the right thing by continuing the conversation. Because while we do work for money, while we do work to have a lifestyle that we’re choosing to live, people don’t want to feel

Like, Oh, I got to give her money. You know because it, it shouldn’t feel like that I’m helping you and you’re helping me. And it’s, it’s mutual. We’ve got to wrap up. We got to come back. I’m going to pick up with options when we come back. But Christine, tell people how to get in touch with you. Absolutely Katherine, I am Christine Kingston. I am here in orange County, California city of Huntington Beach. You can find us on the web at surf city lawyers, www.surfcitylawyers.com or give us a call at the office for a complimentary consultation at (714) 533-9210. We’re here to serve our local community. Thank you, Katherine. You’re welcome. And thank you until next time. Have a super day. Thank you.

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